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[FM21] A Young Badger Earns His Stripes...with Tigers


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I like starting my saves unemployed, and I liked my Bucky Badger character, but I didn't have a great idea beyond that. Having worked my way up the English leagues last time, I wanted a change. So, I loaded all the North and South American leagues.

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Bucky Badger, 25yo American born in Madison, Wisconsin, returns as a former Sunday League player with no coaching badges and a Motivator background. I set out applying to all listed openings. I was offered the Peru U20s coach, but I wanted to start at a club. I interviewed unsuccessfully with Central Español Futbol Club, a Uruguayan 2nd division side. After numerous rejected applications, a May interview seemed to go fairly well.

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After agreeing to take the job, I realized that I have been in existence longer than this club has. So far, we have both won the same amount of trophies, too!

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Club Facilities

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Club Vision

There doesn't seem to be much pressure with regard to the 5-year plan. The club finished 13th out of 16 in the First Phase. I was hired shortly after its completion.

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Senior Affiliate Club

Upon arriving, I learned the club only has a Chief Scout, who does not possess very good ability to judge players. In my excitement during the interview, I had promised not to make any changes to staff. With no ability to hire scouts temporarily, and only about $60K in the transfer budget and an overall balance of about $194K, I asked the club for a senior affiliate primarily to get an annual fee to help the finances. It took some convincing, but they agreed and returned with one option:

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June/July 2021

 

I arrived at the club a couple days before players left for the mid-season break. I had a lot of time to discuss tactics with the Assistant Coach. Relying heavily on his counsel, we arrived at the following after the dust settled from the transfer window.

 

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Transfers Out

There were a lot of exits during the transfer window.

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The first 4 players weren't going to find places in my team and offers for them were accepted quickly. The last 5 players agreed to pre-contracts to leave in January, and I offered to sell them immediately to those clubs. As a result, nearly $0.5M was cleared from the wage budget.

 

Results & Table

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An upset against a 1st Division team seemed promising but faded quickly after the opening 2 league games. However, a strong 2nd half in the next game resulted in my first career victory!

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Takeover Rumors

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Near the end of July, rumors were floating, although the media didn't put much stock in them.

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August 2021

 

Staff Poaching

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While Pacheco wasn't outstanding, he was Chief Scout and the only member of the department. I doubt that any applicants will reach his level. At least we got some money for him!

 

Takeover Talk

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Results & Table

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Unfortunately, the win at the end of last month didn't lead to a good start this month. A well-played match against Orsomarso resulted in an important win that I hope will lift our spirits. Back-to-back shutouts to finish the month provided some encouragement.

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Board Review

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I'm trending downward with the board. Twice this month I was summoned to a meeting to discuss the players' support. Each time, the board appeared to accept my assurances that it will get better. The media continued to report that a bad result would see me fired.

 

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September 2021

 

New Chief Scout

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He doesn't appear as skilled as his predecessor, but he was the best of the three who applied, and I was desperate to fill the position quickly.

 

Player Transfer

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Montes had requested a transfer. The offer was too good to refuse as he was a disruptive force in the locker room.

 

Results & Table

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We deserved to go undefeated this month, but we couldn't finish any chances against Cortulua. We managed to climb a couple spots in the table. I'm hoping that we can finish strong and push into the top half.

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Board Review

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The support from the players is increasing and is reflected in my improved standing with the board. I extended the contracts of a couple key players through June 2022. I'm also learning which players I probably can let walk at the end of the season.

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October 2021

 

Results & Table

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We really struggled to score in October, and it cost us an opportunity for a top-half finish. I'm very impressed with our defending. We gave up less than a goal per game.

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Some surprising news came after the final game...

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November 2021

 

Takeover Talks

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Board Review

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My standing with the board has improved a bit. I'm not too thrilled about their disappointment in the First Phase. I wasn't hired until it had finished!

 

Coaching Course Request

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I'm sure there would be high demand for a young American coach who led his team to a bottom-half finish in the Colombian Second Division!

 

Finances

The good news is that the new President found some money for the club. The bad news is that it was in the form of a 10-year loan.

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Staff

With the arrival of November, I had fulfilled my promise not to change the staff. I quickly placed ads for Scouts, a Recruitment Analyst, and a Head of Youth Development. I wasn't expecting quality applicants, but any one would be better than no one.

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December 2021

 

End of Season Awards & Stats

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Season Performance Data

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The data backed up my opinion - we are pretty strong in defense and very weak in attack.

 

Dynamics

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My support from players is much improved after weeding out most of the malcontents. There still is some chaff to remove, however.

 

Commercial Summary

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Revenue is trending in the right direction. The new sponsorship deal will provide a great deal of help.

 

Club Vision

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Fairly basic expectations for the short-term.

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I assume that this is a result of the loan that the new president received.

 

Staff Poaching

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When I arrived at the club, the U20s team had a total of 18 coaches in various positions. One of my goals for the offseason was to get this under control, so I'm not disappointed to see him leave.

 

Finances

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January 2022

 

Board Review

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Squad Dynamics

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Club Expectations

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Results & Table

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Well, we improved throughout our 3 games from a loss to a draw to a win. Gamboa has started pretty well as the new Shadow Striker.

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Current Staff

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As I mentioned earlier, we're a bit overstaffed for the U20s. Overall, I'm pretty happy with the staff given our level.

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February 2022

 

Transfer Window Activity

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The transfer window saw 3 arrivals as I began to restock the team after the mass exodus at the end of last season. Gamboa arrived prior to the start of the season and currently is the primary option for the Shadow Striker role. Palacios and Lizana were deadline signings to provide depth at Shadow Striker and Advanced Forward respectively.

 

Roster

Here's the roster after the close of the transfer window:

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I'm fairly satisfied with the exception of a couple areas: 1) We lack a backup for Forero at WBL; 2) Ospina, the starter at AM LC (Advanced Playmaker) is on loan from our affiliate and his backup, Gomez, is on the downside of his career. While most of the team is under 23, it appears to have good potential. While there aren't many good personalities, there aren't any poor ones either.

 

Youth Preview & Intake

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The General Manager whispered about a "golden generation" upon the arrival of the candidates. I approved his suggestion to sign all of them due to a lack of players on the U20s team.

 

Coaching Course Request

Although I had been refused multiple times, I requested a coaching course again since our finances had improved. The President refused even after I argued that it would benefit the club as much as me. He didn't appreciate it when I mentioned a lack of ambition on his part, but he relented when I insisted on the importance of this to me.

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Results & Table

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An unbeaten month with excellent defending saw us climb within 3 points of 1st place in the league. We also got off to a good start in the Colombian Cup.

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March 2022

 

Results & Table

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Another unbeaten month saw us climb a spot in the league table and take over the top position in our cup group. The defense continued their solid performances. Aristizabal started to heat up in attack. Gomez scored a huge early goal against one of our rivals.

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Contract News

As the month drew to a close, the board offered a contract extension, which I happily accepted. I had 3 months remaining on the previous contract.

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Transfer Signings

I signed a couple players on free transfers to provide cover at positions that had no backups.

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Angulo will join Forero at left wing back.

 

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Ceballos will give us another left-footed option as a ball winning midfielder besides Echeverri.

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April 2022

 

Monthly Board Review & Squad Dynamics

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The positive feedback from the board is increasing. Primarily, as a result of the improved squad dynamics.

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Significant Injuries

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This hurts us. Ospina has had a significant impact on our success in the First Phase. I was able to extend his loan until the end of the next transfer window, though, so he will return to the first team when he's healthy.

A few days later, our leading goal scorer went down in training.

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Days before the final game of the First Phase Forero overdid it on the weights.

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Success from a Loss?

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A disappointing 2-1 loss to rivals Bogota FC ended our 11-game unbeaten streak, but we still qualified for the First Phase Semi Final. The board had hoped we could finish mid-table. With 2 games left, we are guaranteed to finish no worse than 7th out of 16.

 

Results & Table

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Defense continued to be the strength of the team as we finished the First Phase in 2nd place earning a spot in one of the semifinal groups.

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In the Colombian Cup, we need a point from our final game to clinch the group.

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May 2022

 

Monthly Board Review

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My rating with the board has reached a new high, although the breakdowns are not nearly as high.

 

Colombian Cup

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First Phase Semi Final Group

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An undefeated month leaves us 1 point from securing a place in the Final.

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Significant Injury

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In his first game back from torn wrist ligaments, Ospina tore a calf muscle that will cause him to miss half of his loan. He's played so well when healthy that I still would like to bring him to the club permanently. However, 2 major injuries in 2 months has me questioning if he's unlucky or injury-prone.

 

Edited by Lodi Lemmer
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June 2022

 

Monthly Board Review

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The board is very happy now!

 

First Phase Final

A 5-1 victory over Deportivo Pereira earned us the top of the Semi Final group and a place in the two-leg Final.

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Not what I wished from being at home for the first leg. I'm pretty disappointed to give up a goal that late in a match I felt we controlled.

 

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We were very poor in the first half, and I let the team know it in the locker room at halftime. It didn't seem to have an impact. However, when I brought on Machuca and Palacios they became heroic saviors in the final 15 minutes.

 

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How sweet it is, indeed! There were a few times that I was sure I would be shown the door. After multiple player personnel changes, we have become unexpected champions! I'm so very proud of this squad. I'm also fairly proud of being added to the club's favored personnel list.

 

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The board was delighted, but they weren't interested in spending any of the $1.15M prize money on improvements.

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Coaching License

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With the break prior to the Second Phase, I was able to complete my National C License course. I asked to start on a National B course and was refused initially, but I convinced the president that it would help the club as much as me so he approved.

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July 2022

 

Monthly Board Review

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Results & Table

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Aristizabal scored in all four of his starts this month as we rose to 1st place based upon goal differential. I'm encouraged with our start to the Second Phase as I've been trying to rotate the squad more than I did in the First Phase.

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Staff Changes

Pedro Contreras was promoted from U20s coach to Assistant Manager with the senior squad.

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August 2022

 

Transfer News

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Only one transaction this window. Vargas was offered a pre-contract by Mineros. I offered a contract to keep him, but he requested $52K p/a, which would have made him the highest paid player on the squad, even though he was only a breakthrough prospect. I walked away from negotiations, and, when he agreed to the contract with Mineros, I offered to sell him now to get some money for him.

 

Results & Table

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The loss against Boca Juniors was our first defeat since April (16 league games, 19 games overall). We continue to defend solidly, which is keeping us above the board's midtable target.

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Significant injury

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While not a sever injury, this is a blow given how he has been scoring the last couple months. Machuca will get a long-term run. Fortunately, Ospina has returned to play 45 minutes in each of the past 2 matches and has not looked very rusty from his injuries.

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September 2022

 

Injuries

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Well, I jinxed that! Ospina was injured the very next day in training. While I really like him when he's on the field, that's 3 major injuries within 5 months. It may be time to move on from him.

This happened a few days later, and we were suddenly very thin at Striker.

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I don't know what is going on in training, but we must have some pretty weak ankles!

 

Colombian Cup

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I'm disappointed to have gone out, and it's largely my fault. I thought our 2 away goals from the first leg would have us in the lead so I didn't attack harder after their goal in this leg. That being said, we hit the post/crossbar 3 times. The $77K is nice but not enough to console the loss.

 

U20s Success

The U20s made it to the 2nd Round of the playoffs and earned some money for the club.

 

Contract Extension

I accepted the board's offer of a 1-year extension.

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Results & Table

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The worst month we've had this year. We've got to score more goals.

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October 2022

 

Coaching Courses

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I immediately asked the board to pursue the next level and received a familiar answer.

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In our discussion, they told me that they needed my presence at training. When I told them that I could see us falling behind our rivals, they finally relented.

 

Results & Table

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We returned to form this month with Aristizabal and Gamboa finding their scoring touch. Aristizabal's goal against Atletico de Cali was his 15th in the league, triggering a bonus clause in his contract. We climbed into 2nd place for the Second Phase and received a good draw for the Semi Final group.

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November 2022

 

Mentoring

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He's still a balanced personality, but it's good to see some increase in ambition, loyalty, and focus.

 

Colombian Cup Awards

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Results & Table

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Our scoring disappeared with injuries to AristizabalOspina, and Gomez and an illness for Gamboa. As a result, we weren't close to winning the Semi Final group.

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December 2022

 

Second Division Champions Playoff

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As a result of winning the First Phase, we have an opportunity to earn promotion to the First Division by winning a 2-leg playoff against the Second Phase champions.

 

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Unfortunately, we continued our scoring drought in the first leg, and we lost Gamboa for the final leg.

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We played poorly in the first half and didn't seem to have much interest in competing. At halftime, I threw a water bottle and told them that I was disappointed. It didn't seem to have much of an effect, but with about 30 minutes left, we woke up. Within 5 minutes, we scored 2 goals and Aristizabal was standing over a PK with a chance to tie the aggregate score. Unfortunately, he missed, and our balloon deflated.

 

I thought that was the end of the season, but I received this notification in my inbox the next day.

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Another 2-leg playoff, with the winners achieving promotion. I don't know how much of a chance we have, but we'll try to put up a fight.

 

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After drawing the first leg at home 1-1, we again sleepwalked to a 2-0 deficit in the first half of the second leg before trying to rally. A really disappointing end to the season. Many players have already expressed their desires to leave the club. I'm not sure how much I want to stay right now either.

 

End of Season Awards & Stats

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Season Performance Data

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We improved quite a bit in attack this season thanks to the emergence of Aristizabal and the signing of Gamboa.

 

Club Vision

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Unchanged from last year

 

Colombian Second Division Season Awards

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Commercial Summary

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Finances

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January 2023

 

This season's squad & Tactics

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Three  players from last year's youth intake (the 16 year olds) enter the squad. The tactics remain the same as last season, but there are new faces up top (Daza) and in the back line (Asprilla and Salas).

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Captains

With the departure of Aristizabal, I needed to name a new captain. Echeverri is my choice. Anaya will continue as vice-captain.

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Current Staff

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Contreras takes over Ass Man duties in a promotion from the U20s. I also let four U20s coaches go after their contracts expired.  Now, we only have11 coaches for the U20s! The board would like us to have 4, so more will be leaving after this year.

 

Competition Expectations

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The board's expectation means we have to qualify for the playoffs, which the top 8 teams do. I think this shouldn't be too difficult.

 

Colombian Cup

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Results & Table

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The ups and downs of youth players...Daza scores 2 goals in the season opener to win the game but earns a rating of 6.3 in the next game.

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Edited by Lodi Lemmer
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February 2023

 

Youth Intake

The HoYD recommended signing the following players. It's supposedly a "golden generation" for the club.

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Galeano is supposed to be the top prospect

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Coaching License

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I asked to start the next course, but the president refused. I argued to no avail and wasn't prepared to threaten him.

 

Academy Player Poached

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Results & Tables

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We had a let down in the league match between the Colombian Cup ties. Gamboa had strong performances in the league, and Palacios did the same in the cup. A great month overall sees us topping the table in the league and the cup group.

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March 2023

 

Youth Player Poached

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There goes another one, but he probably won't be missed too much.

 

Results & Tables

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Apparently, we used up all of our goal-scoring ability last month. We didn't give up a lot of goals, but the frustrating part is that the goals were often the only shot on target for the game. I gave Vega, the backup GK, a start against Bogota FC, but the result wasn't any different. We have slipped out of the playoff positions in the league and likely given away our opportunity to qualify from the cup group.

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